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How to Budget for Off-Campus Living When Studying Abroad
by Guest Blogger, Ginger Abbot

Many college and university students look forward to studying in a new country. You get to explore a new culture for a discounted price while continuing your education, but you might not want to stay on campus. This guide will show you how to budget for off-campus living when studying abroad,  no matter where you decide to go.

You’ll have a better experience if you don’t board your plane until you do a bit of research. Use these tips to find out everything you need to know about how to afford your next semester or academic year in another country.


1. Compare Local Communities

If you were moving to a new apartment at home, you’d compare local communities by reading reviews and talking with leasing managers. You should do the same thing to figure out how to budget for study abroad semesters.

An apartment complex close to campus may charge the same monthly rent as what you could afford back home, but it could also have terrible reviews. Some students may have to increase their rent budget to guarantee that they’ll get a safe, functioning apartment after their plane lands. Think about what you want in an apartment and how much you’d pay for it back home to make a list of affordable communities in your destination city.


2. Look Up Insurance Requirements

Most rental complexes require tenants to have renter’s insurance when they move in. Even if you’ll only live there for a couple of months, you should look up insurance requirements when you narrow down your top three apartment choices. Call insurance companies located where you’ll study to discuss your coverage and payment options.

Excerpts estimate that people pay around $20 each month for renter’s insurance, but you could find an even better deal where you study. It depends on the currency conversion and which company you choose. The right insurance plan will take up some room in your budget, but it shouldn’t be anywhere close to your most expensive recurring costs.


3. Research the Cost of Living

Sometimes when people read about how to create a student budget abroad, they forget about the cost of living differences. This cost will include basic things like how much you can afford in weekly groceries. Living away from campus means you’ll likely skip a meal plan, so you’ll have to pay for meals on your own.

If you’re not sure where to start, look up national averages. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that young people spend about $164.20 on monthly groceries when they use a thrifty budget. That number could rise to over $300 without looking for deals and coupons.

Give yourself an estimated food budget and work out the details after you get settled overseas. You’ll form a cooking routine that works with your schedule and adjust your spending from there.


4. Pick a Transportation Method

Figuring out how you’ll get around is another part of learning how to budget for study abroad experiences. Some students might find an apartment close to campus in the heart of a city, where essential goods are nearby too. Others might have to rely on subways, buses or taxies to get around.

Once you know where you’ll study, read about local transportation methods and the fees associated with each. You can pick one that’s preferable and factor in the ticket prices for your daily or weekly commutes.


5. Remember Extra Bills

Your study abroad budget should also include extra bills you might forget. There will be additional fees for water, electricity, Wi-Fi and even front door trash pickup. Leasing managers can give you specific details for what they include in their rental prices and what local service providers are most popular with their tenants.

After you figure out what you could pay for each extra bill, use a currency converter to determine how much money you’ll need throughout your upcoming experience. You might find extra room in your budget for everyday purchases or tourist attractions if the conversion favors U.S. currency.


6. Investigate Lease Options

While you work out how to create a student budget abroad, investigate all of your lease options. If you’ll only be out of the country for a semester, short-term leases will be your best bet for a living arrangement. On the other hand, some leasing managers will charge more for a short lease than others. Compare rent and investigate monthly arrangements to determine which works best for your needs.


Budget for Off-Campus Living Abroad

Determining your budget for off-campus living while studying abroad requires a bit of research, but it’s not impossible. Read apartment reviews, investigate insurance companies and decide how much you’ll spend on basic living necessities each month. Every minute spent developing your budget will make your study abroad experience much more enjoyable after it begins.

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